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Prospects for the RV Lifestyle
Research Identifies Three Hot Prospect Segments for RV Industry

Go RVing recently finalized new market research to gain better insight into consumers’ experiences during the purchase process. The latest Communications Planning Study, conducted by Harris Interactive, yielded new data about the demographics and psychographics of RV-buyer prospects and the best messages to reach them.
Based on study findings, the RV industry will target messages to three well-defined, promising prospect segments.

Members of the first segment, “The Family that Plays Together,” typically are between the ages 35 and 49 and have at least one child. Their average household income is $85,000. Of the RV prospect segments, this group is more likely to include Hispanic consumers.

The Family that Plays Together prospects rate spending time bonding and finding learning opportunities as important. Members of this group are receptive to messages emphasizing the convenience and flexibility of RVing with children.

The second segment, “The Get Up and Go Crowd,” finds RVs appealing for weekend outings with their “toys” – motorcycles, ATVs, boats, etc. Members of this category are enthusiastic about motor sports, sporting events and saving money on travel. Their average household income is $81,800. More than half of this group are between 35 and 49 years old and the majority have no children.

Of the three prospect segments, The Get Up and Go Crowd is more likely to include African Americans and consider RV travel a good value.This segment is likely to respond to messages that connect RVs with motorized recreation and sporting events and emphasize the affordability of RV travel.

Members of the third category, “Nature Lovers,” enjoy the peace and quiet of scenic destinations off the beaten path. Respondents in this category rate camping in comfort, staying fit and strengthening relationships as important. They express concern about RV driving and have an average household income of $93,600.
Of the prospect groups, Nature Lovers are the oldest with 35 percent between the ages of 50 and 64. Also, they are typically empty-nesters. They’d be likely to appreciate the advantages of having a home on wheels in remote areas where lodgings and restaurants are hard to find.

Qualified respondents for the study included nonowners between ages 21 and 64 with annual incomes of at least $40,000 who considered themselves likely to purchase an RV in the next few years or have valid drivers’ licenses and made at least one overnight U.S., Canadian or Mexican trip in the past year. Harris Interactive conducted 1,275 online interviews in August 2004.

Key demographics of RV prospects identified by the study include:
• Most are married.
• More than three-fourths have some college education.
• One-third have at least one child under age 18.
• Two-thirds are White/Caucasian, while African-Americans and Hispanics represent 16 and 11 percent respectively, and Asian-Americans make up four percent.

RV prospects and owners share similar attitudes about traveling for pleasure, the study suggests. “RV prospects and owners agree the most important factors when planning pleasure trips are escaping daily pressures, experiencing adventure/excitement, controlling budget and itinerary, and visiting beautiful outdoor places,” explained Lois Sumberg, senior vice president of research for Harris Interactive.

The study’s other major findings include:
• RV prospects considered avoiding travel hassles (84 percent), strengthening relationships (77 percent) and exploring lesser known destinations (75 percent) very or somewhat important in planning pleasure trips.
• More than one-quarter of all RV prospects have investigated RV costs, and of these two-thirds said the price was higher than expected.
• Sixty-one percent of prospects own either pickups, SUVs, minivans or conversion vans – vehicles that easily tow RVs.

Attitudes and Perceptions of RVing
• The majority of prospects agree RVs make travel convenient for any age or physical condition (63 percent) and make weekend getaways easier (61 percent).
• More than half of prospects agreed with the statements “RVs enable me to eat healthy when traveling” and “RVs are the best way to travel with family or children.”
• RV prospects have generally favorable perceptions of the camaraderie of RV owners, their self-reliant/independent nature, and the safety and pleasant atmosphere of campgrounds.
Barriers to Purchasing RVs
• Cruises, owning vacation homes/condos, and home entertainment remain serious competitors for the RV dollar.
• Cost is the biggest deterrent to purchase. Survey respondents believed RVs cost more than they actually do, primarily because prospects are envisioning motorhomes.
• Prospects’ perceptions of the expense and difficulty of RV operation, tasks involved in RV usage, and problems with storing/parking RVs rank as other barriers to purchase.
RV Types
RVs are categorized as either towable or motorized.

Towable RVs are towed behind a vehicle, then disconnected and set up when you arrive at your destination. This allows you the benefit of using the tow vehicle to make a trip to the store, or go sightseeing while you are camping. Towable RVs include folding camping trailers (pop-ups), truck campers, travel trailers, hybrid trailers, sport utility trailers (toy haulers) and 5th wheel trailers.

Motorized RVs are built on a special vehicle chassis and powered by either a gasoline or diesel engine. There are three classifications for motorized RVs: Type A, B, and C.

Another type of RV is the Recreational Park Trailer (RPT). RPTs are basically designed to be set up at a vacation destination and left there.

RV Types

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